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Making energy efficiency accessible!

Through pilot trainings and workshops, EUKI project “EDINA” has educated more than 500 civil servants and representatives of housing associations on energy-efficient housing renovations. In over 100 Polish cities and municipalities, efficiency measures in private buildings have been initiated thereafter. A great support is also provided by their self-developed energy efficiency calculator, which is already being used by over 2000 users.

This paper examines the literature for the effectiveness of the introduction of a separate Emissions Trading System for the buildings and road transport sectors (ETS2) and a Social Climate Fund (SCF) to mitigate its potential negative impact on households by the European Union.

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Improving the Energy Efficiency of Residential Buildings in Revitalisation Areas – Toolkit

EDINA – Improving Energy Efficiency in Revitalisation

From the community



Improving the Energy Efficiency of Residential Buildings in Revitalisation Areas – Toolkit

by Emilia Grotowska, „EDINA – Energy-efficient development of special revitalisation zones and urban areas”

The publication entitled “Improving the energy efficiency of residential buildings in revitalisations areas – Toolkit” contains – among others, information on improving energy efficiency in revitalization areas  and methods of comprehensive improvement of energy efficiency by improving the technical performance of buildings in the investment processes. The toolkit is dedicated to city/municipal offices with municipal revitalization programs or other subsidy programs supporting the renovation of private buildings, property owners/managers, housing communities/cooperatives, social housing association, NGOs or other interested parties.


We would like to share with you our latest publication “Improving the Energy Efficiency of Residential Buildings in Revitalisation Areas – Toolkit” – it is published and can be downloaded from the EDINA project website.

The publication contains – among others, information on improving energy efficiency in revitalization areas and methods of comprehensive improvement of energy efficiency by improving the technical performance of buildings in the investment processes. The toolkit is dedicated to city/municipal offices with municipal revitalization programs or other subsidy programs supporting the renovation of private buildings, property owners/managers, housing communities/cooperatives, social housing association, NGOs, or other interested parties.

The toolkit is the result of a two-year project entitled: “EDINA -Energy efficient development of Special Revitalisation Zones and urban areas ”.  The leader of the project is The Polish Institute for Urban and Regional Development, while the partners are: the Energy Conservation Foundation and the Initiative Wohnungswirtschaft Osteuropa  (IWO e.V.).

The videos summarising the EDINA project are available here: https://edina.irmir.pl/improving-energy-efficiency-of-buildings-in-revitalization-areas-films/

Within the project duration a series of webinars under “Revitalization Academy” was organized. Webinars were recorded and those in English were covering the topics ( link available under the title):

We invite you to check out the webinars and other materials that were developed under the EDINA project https://edina.irmir.pl/en/

We hope those would be useful and help us all to improve energy efficiency in Europe.

City of Lodz

Revitalisation Zone in Lodz, Poland; © City of Lodz


Responsible for the content of this page is the named author / organisation:

This publication by EUKI project Retrofit Hub summarizes two years of experience and results from “Renovation and retrofitting of old buildings in times of climate crisis”.

UPGREAT: Aspects affecting the performance gap in energy renovations of public school buildings

UPGREAT – Training Tool for Efficient Schools

From the community



UPGREAT: Aspects affecting the performance gap in energy renovations of public school buildings

by Christina Palochi, Architectural Engineer, Cyprus Energy Agency

When referring to “gaps and barriers” in deep energy renovations of schools, there is a variety of aspects affecting the building’s performance difference between the proposed solutions and the actual results. These aspects concern the design procedure that involves architects and engineers and the produced construction drawings, as well as the tendering and subsequently the implementation phase, when the contractor and subcontractors are assigned the project.


Throughout the duration of these stages of design and construction, the communication and correspondence between the involved architects, engineers and contractors should be efficient and clear in terms of understanding the project’s needs and the methodology that is going to be adopted to achieve the desirable outcome. A common background knowledge and technical expertise regarding construction materials, building systems and construction detailing for energy renovations could be achieved through technical training and qualification processes for building professionals. Particularly, when the tendering documents include requirements for technical knowledge and certifications of the contractors taking part in the tendering process, for certain construction works, e.g., the installation of facade and roof insulation materials, it is more likely that the finished project would be completed in compliance with the initial specifications set at the design phase.

Kindergarten in Nicosia

Figure 1: Kindergarten in Nicosia, Cyprus ©Cyprus Energy Agency

An aspect that may cause deviations between the designed and the completed project is the methodology of describing and analyzing the construction works required for deep energy renovations in school buildings. The synergies between UPGREAT and PEDIA (Horizon 2020) projects have significant contribution to the outcomes of both projects, as the main objective of PEDIA is the implementation of energy renovations in public schools, while UPGREAT aims to upskill building professionals for energy renovations of schools. Therefore, the knowledge gained from the tendering phase for the purposes of PEDIA is important for understanding the technical background and skills required by the responsible parties, either referring to the engineers preparing the procurement, or to the contractors and builders involved in the construction phase.

In particular, as resulted from the preparation of the tendering documents for the energy renovations of five out of the twenty-five pilot school buildings taking part in the project PEDIA, an efficient and understandable method to present and describe the different construction works, was to divide them into categories. Thus, there were nine main categories which included different applicable methodologies as sub-categories, as shown in the indicative “Table of Contents” below:

Table of Contents

  1. Exterior Wall Insulation

A.1 External Thermal Insulation System – Thermal Facades

A.2 External Thermal Insulation System – Dry Walls

A.3 Internal Thermal Insulation System – Dry Walls

  1. Thermal Insulation and Waterproofing for Flat Roofs

B.1 Inverted System (Extruded Polystyrene and Tiles on top)

B.2 Conventional System (Waterproofing on top)

  1. Thermal Insulation of Flat Slabs under Sloped Roofs
  2. Replacement of Existing Window/Door Frames
  3. Repairs of Interior Surfaces (Water Damage Repairs and Paintings)
  4. Repair or Installation of Shading Devices
  5. Creation of Green Spaces
  6. Creation of Green Roofs
  7. Electrical and Mechanical Works
Primary School in Nicosia

Figure 2: Primary School in Nicosia, Cyprus ©Cyprus Energy Agency

In addition, within each main category, an explanatory table with all the five school buildings was developed, in order to clearly indicate which method was applicable for each school along with specific guidelines and significant remarks that the Tenderers should have had in mind while preparing their pricing lists and offers. It is worth mentioning that in some cases the school layouts were more complicated and required a combination of methodologies for the same work. In particular, one primary school building (Figure 2) has both inclined and flat roofs, therefore two different methodologies were proposed for the thermal insulation of the slabs. Another example is a kindergarten in Nicosia (Figure 1), that has decorative stone cladding on some of the exterior walls that should not be covered or altered, as it plays a significant role in the architectural character of the building. In this case, the proposed thermal insulation method for the stone clad walls was to construct a 10cm thick dry wall with rockwool, tangent to the inner side, while for the rest of the exterior walls the proposed method referred to thermal facade systems with 10cm extruded polystyrene.

To conclude, apart from the classification of the different tasks and methods, and the clear mapping of the requirements of each project, there are numerous factors that affect whether the initial goals are achieved and therefore the energy performance of a school building is significantly improved. One of the most important factors is that the involved building professionals are fully informed from the beginning of the project and have the necessary technical training, so that they can meet the requirements and deliver a high standard of work.

Responsible for the content of this page is the named author / organisation: Christina Palochi, Cyprus Energy Agency / UPGREAT Project

This analysis by EUKI project ClimArchiNet summarises the findings and experience gained in the course of the project and highlights the problems and challenges of sustainable construction in the Slovak Republic. Recommendations and innovative solutions to help the construction sector contribute to the (Slovak) goal of carbon neutrality by 2050 are also given.

Identifying the gaps and barriers in deep energy renovation of school buildings through UPGREAT

UPGREAT – Training Tool for Efficient Schools

From the community



Identifying the gaps and barriers in deep energy renovation of school buildings through UPGREAT

by Tsakoumakis Nektarios, Mechanical Engineer, Hellenic Passive House Institute

As it is already known the building sector is responsible for 36% of the total greenhouse gas emissions and 40% of the EU energy consumption. Having this in our mind and concerning that the society today has to move towards a more sustainable future, while the ongoing energy crisis is affecting millions of Europeans, bold actions have to be undertaken!


The European Union’s target for renovating 3% of public buildings every year needs to be addressed with the highest of responsibility in order to minimize our carbon footprint for the next decades. Schools consist of some of the most common public buildings and their energy demand is quite big due to the fact that they host a large amount of people inside them. According to research for classroom air quality,  a healthy learning environment can reduce the absence rate, improve test scores and enhance pupils-teachers learning-teaching productivity. Those standards for IAQ are unknown in almost 99% of both teachers and students, especially in Greece.

The EUKI-funded project UPGREAT (Upskilling Professionals for deep enerGy efficiency REnovations: A Tool for better schools), is oriented to schools for the reason that they are the buildings that are accommodating children and they are spending a third of their first 18 years inside them. Also, schools, especially in Greece are built in modules and are easier to be renovated. The positive impact that they have in the neighborhood is also a way to promote the nZEB standards and they are living examples for the pupils-future engineers of how buildings should perform by provide them the proper internal air quality, adequate thermal, optical and acoustic comfort in order for them to be able to feel comfortable and to be ready to assimilate the knowledge. Those are some of the advantages that the Passive House standard offers with the mechanical ventilation, the airtightness of the building and the well secured thermal envelope.

But how is that feasible? How are the engineers going to construct this kind of building, and more specifically, schools? How are the students going to “invest” their time instead of “spending” it?

This is the gap that UPGREAT project comes to bridge by supporting the construction industry. In the end of August and for 5 consecutive days, six engineers and energy efficiency experts from Cyprus and Greece were trained on how to teach other engineers and tradespersons about deep energy renovations. This was made possible by attending the “Train the Trainer” special courses, a tailor made programme exclusively provided to the consortium of UPGREAT, offered by the Passive House Institute in Darmstadt, Germany.

By completing the “Train the Trainer” programme, UPGREAT members are ready to better approach other white and blue collar professionals with skills they gained during those five days in Darmstadt. Particularly, they learned to identify the type of learners that they are going to teach and adapt their teaching technique accordingly. Also they emphasized in the structure of the curriculum, in order to contain the necessary information considering the professionals that are going to be educated in the nearly zero energy building methods of construction.

The course closed with presentations on how to design an exam by adapting it to the teaching units that are more relevant to the professionals who are going to attend the future courses. This set of teaching units are going to be implemented in the Guidebook & Training Toolkit that will be used in order to promote the Passive House standard in the engineering industry and it will bridge the gaps in the industry, such as the lack of technical skills and knowledge of the professionals in the construction industry, either referring to white or blue-collar practitioners.

But, how about real life examples? What happens after the training of the professionals?

Tour in a construction site of a PH school with the vice mayor of Darmstadt for educational affairs

Tour in a construction site of a PH school with the vice mayor of Darmstadt for educational affairs; Image by Theoni Karlessi

During the last two days, UPGREAT members had the chance to visit five school buildings that incorporate aspects of the Passive House standard and couple the outcomes from the “Train the Trainer” course with on site good practices.

For two days, they visited five schools, from elementary schools to high schools, all of them constructed according to the Passive House standard. By doing so, they came closer to Passive buildings and they understood how those high energy efficient buildings work.

Hessenwald School

Hessenwald School; Image by Nektarios Tsakoumakis

With the help of Dr.Oliver Ottinger from the German Da Di Werk, a company that regulates and operates 81 schools in the district in terms of sustainability and also a member of the UPGREAT consortium, the trainees from the Cyprus Energy Agency, the Hellenic Passive House Institute and the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens were toured in the schools gaining experience and ideas for better school buildings and ways to promote and incorporate the Passive House principles while implementing deep energy renovations in schools .

Facility rooms, restaurants designed to serve hundreds of students simultaneously, multipurpose rooms and classrooms were shown to the trainees. The challenges faced during the construction phases, common mistakes that occur in the construction site, special aspects of the energy efficient heating and cooling systems, operational insights on day and night ventilation systems, nature based light solutions (e.g., skylights), energy efficient door and window frames (e.g., 3-ply windows), automations (e.g., shading units), green roofs, insulation, energy generation from wood pellets, and ergonomic design for the general comfort of the users -students and teachers are some of the points the visits were focused on, depending on the peculiarities of each building. Moreover, the performance gap between the designed energy demand and the final energy consumption, which as it was referred to, tends to zero, was discussed too.

To achieve this we need a more holistic approach during the designing and the planning of the renovated buildings. Everything should be given the necessary attention in order to avoid mistakes during the construction phase. The engineers should be in place to choose the right material for each structural element and to implement the right application method for each construction material. The same attention should be given for the mechanical equipment during the designing and the implementation of the systems.

To that way, the UPGREAT project, was designed for this specific purpose; to upskill building professionals in relation to deep energy renovations.

Responsible for the content of this page is the named author / organisation: Tsakoumakis Nektarios, Hellenic Passive House Institute / UPGREAT Project

This toolkit provides guidance on how to make public spaces appealing where pedestrians and public transport take precedence. It also covers the improvement of energy efficiency in revitalisation areas and shows how the technical performance of buildings can already be taken into account in the investment process.

Identification of Gaps and Barriers in Building Renovations


Identification of Gaps and Barriers in Building Renovations

The 5th edition of the International Conference on Economics and Social Sciences (ICESS), was organized by the Bucharest University of Economic Studies (BUES), on the 16-17 of June 2022, at BUES, and online. This year’s conference theme, “Fostering recovery through metaverse business modelling”, invited researchers, Ph.D. students, and practitioners. EUKI project UPGREAT was part of it and published their scientific paper “Identification of Gaps and Barriers in Building Renovations through a Targeted Survey to Professionals of the Built Environment to Upgrade the Quality of Building Stock and Mitigate Climate Change” in the conference publication.

Download PDF [Englisch]

UPGREAT – Training Tool for Efficient Schools

“It’s a huge volume of electricity generated on the roofs of people”

Interview



“It’s a huge volume of electricity generated on the roofs of people”

by GIZ/EUKI, Ada Ámon 

Ada Ámon leads the Department for Climate and Environmental Affairs of the City Hall in Budapest – which is also the implementer of the EUKI project Low-Carbon Investment in Budapest. According to Forbes Magazine (2015), Ada is one of the most influential women in Hungary. She was among the three winners of the Women in Energy prize awarded the first time in the framework of EU Sustainable Energy Week (2020). Recently, she and her EUKI project team created the first Solar Map for Budapest. The Solar Map is a web-based application, showing which part of the roof is suitable for solar energy and how much electricity it could generate. We met her at the EUKI conference 2022 to ask her some questions:  

Ada, what is your impression of the EUKI Networking Conference?

It’s a great thing to meet all these people who are working for the same cause in Central Eastern Europe. One problem that I have noticed, while being part of the broader community and not only EUKI community, is that we have been doing our own exercises parallel without knowing about the results, achievements, and ways of implementation of each other. Knowing more about each other would probably enhance our impact. If we can make our work more efficient by meeting each other and enhancing the exchange of experience and information, it will help a lot in making our efforts more impactful. So, the EUKI Conference serves for the benefit of the whole climate community, because most of the people here are working in climate action NGOs and everybody is benefiting from the NGO world. Municipalities as a facility also help a lot and give direct benefit to civil society. 

How do you think the energy crisis influences your country? How is Budapest/Hungary coping with the consequences?

Many CEE countries and especially the governments tend to keep people and households under the understanding that energy is infinite, and that the crisis will be over after a while. Hungary and the Hungarian people are under a huge pressure now because of this fake narrative, that the government can secure the energy for a long period of time at a very low price – which is obviously not true. Many of the Hungarians got addicted to wasting energy because of the price distortion that prevented them to be more conscious and more aware of their energy consumption. Now we are still living in houses with poor energy performance because people never spent money on insulating walls, replacing windows, and refurbishing their heating facilities and system. So, this is where we are right now, and everyone is trying to do their best to cope with this issue. Moreover, the EU money of the last term has been spent already but not necessarily in the direction of real climate measures.   

We heard about some great news: In your EUKI project, you created the first Solar Map for Budapest. Could you please tell us more about it? Also, what other measures did Hungary implement to reduce the energy dependency?

Indeed, I am very proud of the success of our solar map. With this, Budapest is following the example of Helsinki, Berlin and other European cities in informing citizens about the solar potential of their rooftops, the map consists of digital databased layers that were integrated, thus we could get to know of each single building’s potential of generating electricity from solar panels. We launched the website with the solar map last week and already over 80.000 people clicked on this application trying to figure out whether their roofs have potential and how they can gain from it.   

There is a huge solar boom in Hungary now which has its own good impact and effect. We already have about 3400 MW of solar capacity built in the system and integrated into the electricity network. 1/3 of it is coming from household-size solar systems. So, it’s a huge volume of electricity generated on the roofs of people and ideally, we would like to double this volume. Budapest has large roof-surfaces and we have assessed that the technical potential of Budapest is beyond 5000 MW. Technically speaking, it is possible to create and implement this capacity which would contribute to the security of supply and limit the reliance on outside sources. We launched a working group that is working on how to gain this electricity potential within the inner part of the city and what would be the best way of involving multi-apartment buildings into this work and.  

Technically speaking, it is possible to create and implement this capacity which would contribute to the security of supply and limit the reliance on outside sources.

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How would you describe EUKI’s role in Hungary?

EUKI is an interesting financing and supporting facility because it falls into two major donor types: On one hand there are private foundations which are supporting some small endeavors, projects, and initiatives. On the other hand, there are the EU direct funding facilities like Horizon 2020, Interreg and LIFE. Compared to these initiatives, EUKI gives more space, and I don ‘t think that we would have found any better finance facility to support our project. EUKI has the right size coming with much less conditionalities than any other EU funding programme. We can concentrate on our own problems, solve them and the results of the project can provide input into other projects. We are already building upon the EUKI conference’s existing information, material, and results.   

EUKI is a unique opportunity for initiatives which are not fitting into the EU funding schemes but make a lot of sense in the countries. Also, knowing that Central Eastern Europe is lacking resources for this, EUKI is a very important instrument.  

Ada, thank you very much for the interview.

Find the Budapest solar map here.